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The Official Breastfeeding Stamp

Toshi Jolliffe
Heisdorf Luxembourg
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 1, February-March 2006, p. 13.

The picture on this breastfeeding postage stamp probably looks familiar to LLL Leaders: gorgeous baby's eyes looking up at the mother, his right hand trying to touch her, and the mother's left hand responding to him. You feel as if the mother's eyes are looking at the baby. She may be gently talking to him. You say to yourself: "I know all about it!"

In 2003 the post office of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a small country in Europe, issued a special stamp to celebrate national breastfeeding week in the beginning of October. They asked Luxembourgish artist Danielle Grosbusch to design the stamp. Danielle has been a member of LLL Luxembourg and breastfed all three of her children: Nina (22), Fanny (20), and Noah (10). Danielle truly loves breastfeeding, and she was delighted to respond to the request to design the stamp.

LLL Luxembourg is very proud that the post office published an official stamp with a picture of a breastfeeding mother and baby. And what was more fantastic was that it was voted one of the best three stamps of the year in Luxembourg! You can tell that people in Luxembourg like the idea of breastfeeding.

Recently I had a chance to visit Danielle's studio, which is part of her beautiful log house in the forest. One of my first questions was, "Which of your children was the model for the baby on the breastfeeding stamp?" Danielle's answer was impressive:

I created a new baby in my mind by putting together the nice parts of each of my babies. This means that the baby of the stamp is actually imaginary; it is my beautiful fourth baby.

By the time she was nursing her third baby, Noah, her life had settled down very nicely. Thanks to her previous breastfeeding experiences she was very confident about looking after Noah. She said that the best part of her life was lying down in bed with her baby. You may wonder, though, how she managed to continue her artwork, or if she had to give it up for some time. Danielle shared with me an amazing story.

Her main "working" time was in the middle of nursing. While Noah was at her breast, Danielle enjoyed creating pictures in her mind. This was not just picturing beautiful scenery or babies. She actually imagined holding a brush or pen and "drew" and "painted" pictures in her mind. Danielle created many imaginary paintings during countless nursing sessions. She never had to feel that nursing Noah deprived her of work time as an artist. This way of "painting" during nursing became a turning point in her art career.

A few years later, when she was eventually able to sit on her own in her studio, she started producing an astounding amount of artwork. The categories of her pictures expanded dramatically. She used to specialize in symbolic art with a fine touch. After having Noah, Danielle drew both realistic and abstract art with a free touch. She was soon ready to organize her first exhibition in 2000. Danielle recalls those days:

Giving birth to Noah and breastfeeding him gave me the energy to create my own world. Thereafter, I discovered what to draw and became able to work with more confidence and pleasure.

Danielle has learned from her experience that breastfeeding enhances mothers' creativity. It is well known that nursing triggers the flow of a mothering hormone, prolactin. This hormone's calming effect may have helped Danielle enjoy being creative during nursing. What a wonderful extra gift she received from breastfeeding!

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